Finishing and Compositing Reel

Summer 2014 Music: “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” by Arctic Monkeys

Featuring clips from the following projects:

Cracker Barrel “Wholesome Fixins” • Havas Worldwide Chicago
Oreo “Wonderfilled” • Director’s Cut • Nieto
Toshiba “Unleash Yourself” • Goodness Mfg
Playstation “Scorpion” • Stolo Productions
Dodge “Are You Dodge?” • Leo Burnett, Italy
T-Mobile “Bus Stop” and “Missed Texts” • Publicis
Red Robin “Jabroni” • Vitro
EA Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 “Rumble” • Heat
Sutter Health “Child Prodigy” • BBDO SF
Hyundai “Standoff” • Innocean
fxPHD NK304 – Advanced Nuke
Milk “Name” • Goodby Silverstein and Partners

Cracker Barrel “Wholesome Fixins”
For all Cracker Barrel clips featured in the reel, I worked as on set VFX Supervisor and lead finishing artist, supervising a small team of Nuke and After Effects artists who helped complete the four spot campaign (two 30s, two 15s). Nuke and After Effects were used in these clips to generate the animated flipbook effect – the look applied to the stock footage clip was created and rendered in AE and then Nuke was used to project those images onto cards that were placed in 3D to match the practical prop. The cards were then rendered through a camera that was solved using NukeX’s camera tracker.

All of the individual boxes were shot as separate motion control passes which were aligned using Nuke’s camera solver in conjunction with the modelbuilder. Once the plates were tracked, the modelbuilder was used to place cards in 3D space at the open end of each box. I was then able to output the UV image of a given foreground plate into the UVs of the background plate and thereby lock the various plates to each other. This method was also used to create jitter-free roto masks throughout the spot. Extensive compositing was completed throughout the spot for matching color between plates, creating shadows, rig removal and compositing of keyed elements into the main plate. The bird and “” sign in the bottom right corner of the final frame were shot against blue screen as a separate element and tracked in using a combination of 3D camera solve and 2D tracking.

Oreo “Wonderfilled” Director’s Cut
I worked on set as a VFX supervisor, generated placeholder 3D assets, edited the offline version of the project and also served as the lead finishing artist.  In the shots featured here, in addition to keying and despilling the foreground plate, I performed extensive cleanup work to remove seams and shadows, created and tracked a shadow beneath the rolling oreo, composited rendered Maya elements into the footage and performed detailed retiming using Oflow to get the images to correspond precisely to certain lyrics in the song.

For the sequence where the camera sweeps over the edge of the table, revealing an eight-armed pinwheel with oreos stepping towards a CG mouth, I did not have a clean plate of the pinwheel to work with.  Using a combination of the IBK Color node in Nuke, tracked solids, 3D projection and lots of paint and roto work, I was able to clean up all of the oreos so that they and their shadows could be stepped onto screen one at a time.  In addition, I cleaned up the neon sign on the carpet and the dolly tracks on the floor to go along with integrating the Mental Ray render of the CG mouth in the middle of the pinwheel.

For more information about my work on this spot, please look at the complete breakdown here.

Toshiba “Unleash Yourself”
I worked on this spot as VFX Supervisor, finishing artist and lead compositor.  The three shots featured in the montage were finished using only the plates shown in the reel, with the exception of the classroom shot which also used plates of smoke and sparklers captured on set and acquired through stock footage.  For a detailed description of the compositing work involved in this spot, please take a look at the project breakdown here.

EA Madden 13 “Holiday/Opponent”
This spot was originally finished at The Mill, but Heat wanted to release an additional version for the holidays. I re-conformed and finished this spot, with the bulk of the work going into the screen comp. The plate captured on set had game footage on screen and a combination of roto, greenscreen and luma keys were used to eliminate the screen shot on set and preserve as much foreground detail on Paul Rudd as possible. Ray Lewis’s hair was filled in a bit with paint work to reduce reflection coming off his scalp.

Playstation “Scorpion”
This spec spot was intended to feature a predatory superhero character who turned the victim’s bedsheets into a scorpion-like creature that impaled him. The footage on set consisted of an animatronic device that was wrapped up in the bedsheets and tipped with green gaff tape which the director originally hoped to simply grade in post to create a menacing look. When that solution didn’t work as intended, I was brought in to design and composite a tail for the bed sheet scorpion. The burning fabric and red-hot scorpion tail were designed, tracked and comp’d in Nuke with a combination of procedural noise, roto and grading. The corpse shot with the scalded hole in the victim’s chest was a combination of 2D splatter images graded to look like burns, a practical smoke element, and an animated noise pass to create the appearance of glowing embers around the wound.

Dodge “Are You Dodge?”
This spot featured lots of compositing of color passes. The agency wanted to experiment with mixing extremely different color passes throughout. Each vehicle was separately tracked and roto’d so that sections of each car and the background could use different color passes from the telecine session. Dust was held in using a combination of rotoscoping and keying. In total, 44 shots in this campaign required this treatment.

T-Mobile “Bus Stop” & “Missed Texts”
I was the finisher on this campaign, which featured several 30s and 15s starring Bill Hader from SNL fame. Screen comps were featured throughout, along with cleanup and camera stabilization work. In addition, I worked with the agency to design the displays and animations comp’d into all of the phone screens.  For the shot featuring the removal of the policeman, due to the parallax in the shot I needed to generate clean plates for the various moving planes in the background, including building the back end of the Mini Cooper from patches obtained from hold frames and paint work, and match move them back into the main plate. For additional information about my work on this campaign, please see the complete breakdown here.

Red Robin “Jabroni”
The agency wanted to replace the logo on the ice cream carton as well as clean up the Anheuser Busch logos on all of the kegs in the freezer. I tracked the camera in the shot using NukeX and did a camera solve just for the ice cream carton, using the existing logo as a tracking source. From there I used NukeX’s modelbuilder to quickly place cylinders throughout the scene onto which I could easily project cleanup work and logos.

EA Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 “The Rumble”
This online ad featured lots of rigged actors fighting each other and flying around. The turnaround time on the spot was extremely short (less than two days to conform, comp and deliver multiple versions), and I supervised a small team of Nuke artists for rig removal work. In addition, there was cleanup work done on the set, screen comps, some minor re-editing of the spot in the finish, and beauty work done on the game footage.

Sutter Health “Child Prodigy”
This campaign featured four spots that required generally minor cleanup work. The shot featured here combined a hero performance plate with the actors and a plate of a man on the crew shooting the diaper into the waste basket. Roto and paint tools were used in Nuke to clean the diaper and it’s shadow from the actors’ plate and replace it with the diaper going into the basket.

Hyundai “Standoff”
These shots were completed at Arcade Edit for a Hyundai campaign. In the shot featuring the bull, the bull and car plates were shot separately. The road needed to be cleaned as it was pretty heavily covered in bull poop. I comp’d the bull and his shadow into place as well as extending the roadside fence towards the edge of the left of frame and removing all graffiti from the rocks beside the road. In the shot featuring the couple driving, the edit called for that shot to be a split screen. However, the plate of the woman had an incredible amount of dust on the windshield that needed to be removed. I used NukeX to denoise the windshield, which eliminated the smaller dust particles, and used a combination of paint and tracked hold frames to eliminate the larger ones. Some color work was then completed to help match the light on the actors, which had been significantly different in the source footage.

fxPHD shots
I have taken several fxPHD courses and enjoyed playing around with the footage they provided. In the motorcycle shot, they furnished the background plate and the matte for the motorcyclist. From there I tracked in a sky replacement, the bullet hits on the road, the explosion on the building in the distance, the augmented headlight and flare, and did the color pass. All work was completed in Nuke. For the shot of the harbor, I modeled and textured the mountains in Modo, then comp’d them in using Nuke’s keying, grading and grain tools.

Milk “Name the Ingedients”
These shots featured extensive cleanup on the set. The floor had dirt and seams visible which the agency wanted to remove. Also, the sign showing the different ingredients in soy milk did not always show the correct ingredients for the given part of the spot. Another significant problem was that the production team could not get the flashing edison lights on both sides of the game show display to work simultaneously. They shot plates of each side working which I comp’d and tracked together. I also added a graphic to the wall above the kid contestants, added the correct ingredients and graphics to the display and cleaned up the floor. For one shot the agency wanted to significantly frame the shot down, which left a large chunk of the frame black. I rebuilt that set in 2D using Nuke’s paint and rotoshape tools. All work was completed in NukeX.